using a cheap GPU / FFmpeg to encode high quality Flash video
We’ve had to devise a way for a client to quickly encode multiple sources of high quality video using white box equipment. The video would come in spurts from webcam captures and uploaded WMV and AVI.
The problem in this instance is not that their server can’t take the load. It easily could . Well tuned video applications will sense the server load and queue the video encoding jobs. Somehow Youtube used to do this very thing in its early days.
They — the client — absolutely didn’t want to ramp up to the slightly more expensive dual CPU class as we suggested initially. Their point which I incorrectly dismissed was the dual processor would have collateral issues that were not worth the possible benefits. It would mean tuning or even changing much of their server software and siphon off an unacceptable level of management focus. Not to mention consulting and IT expense. This is true actually. No matter how well planed out moving to new network hardware is alway s fraught with unforeseen problem.
The solution is simple on paper.
We can insert a relatively inexpensive graphics card and pipe much of the heavy lifting through the GPU with FFmpeg. The testing on the local server shows truly amazing results. Properly configured a plain Jane Linux box can be a real video workhorse.
I’ll post the hardware details after a few more days of testing and talks with the hosting provider are done..